Producer-director Ivan Reitmanwhose insanely successful comedies of the 70s and 80s turned into a horrible festival of blockbusters “Ghostbusters”Died in a dream on February 12, his family confirmed Associated Press. He was 75. The cause of death was not reported.
“Our family is experiencing the unexpected loss of a husband, father and grandfather, who taught us to always look for magic in life,” – his children, director Jason Reitman, said Catherine Reitman and Caroline Reitman in a joint statement. “We are comforted that his work as a director has brought laughter and happiness to countless other people around the world. While we mourn privately, we hope that those who knew him from his films will always remember him. ”
Born in Czechoslovakia and raised in Canada (where he first met young comics such as his later stars Dan Ackroyd and Rick Maranis), Reitman made his first big impression as a producer of The National House of Animals (1978), a madman. a successful fraternal comedy that introduced the big screen star to John Belusha’s “Saturday Night Live” star.
He quickly switched to art directing, and his first two hits elevated another SNL luminary, Bill Murray, to the top echelons of movie stars: The Mentors (1979), in which Murray advised an anarchist camp, and the service comedy Strips ( 1980), starring actor and writer Harold Remis.
Although these paintings were formidable in the box office, they were only a warm-up for the greatest defeat of Reitman, which he produced and directed. Written co-written by Ackroyd and Ramis, co-starring with Murray, Maranis and Sigourney Weaver, “Ghostbusters” was the perfect combination of wise guy’s humor and creative, high-budget special effects.
Raising nearly $ 229 million in the domestic market, it was one of the most successful comedies of its time; she spawned a franchise that included the 1989 sequel and two parts of the new millennium (the second of which, Ghostbusters: The Afterlife in 2021, was shot by Reitman’s son Jason and brought together the surviving stars of the original film, produced by Ivan Reitman). .)
Although none of Reithman’s subsequent films had such box office receipts, he maintained his production / directing profile through a series of comedies that changed the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s action hero: The Twins (1988), The Policeman. from kindergarten ”(1990) and“ Junior ”(1994). He also produced the family comedy “Beethoven” starring St. Bernard.
In the greatest and best of his films, Reitman found an unusual balance between unfolding carefully – some spoke almost obsessively – scripts and using artists such as Belushi, Aykroyd, Murray and Maranis, who came to a climate of free improvisation. from the Chicago improvisational troupe Second City, SCTV and SNL.
In a 1993 New York Times article, writer Randall Rothenberg noted: “Mr. Reitman, [his actors] for example, there is a fine line between the control that many directors claim over every aspect of the film and the willingness to allow their actors – many of whom come from the world of improvisational comedy – to fly free.
Reitman, who was sympathetic to his stars and rarely came to the fore in the coverage of his work, said in the same profile: “There is a time when actors can say whatever they want, and then part of the fun for me as a director is to take this raw work and just structure it and rework it to fit the character and plot that is also evolving. It’s a way to co-author a film when it’s being shot. But it does not allow to create the same purposeful direction and polished style, which leads to great recognition of the creator of the film.
Born October 27, 1946 in Kamama, Czechoslovakia. His mother survived the Auschwitz extermination camp, and his father fought in the Czech resistance. The family emigrated to the United States in 1950 to escape the repressive postwar communist regime.
Raised in Toronto, he studied at McMaster University in Hamilton, where he made his first short films; while at school, he encountered many future key members of the SCTV troupe – Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, Andrea Martin and Maranis. Returning to Toronto after college, he hired Ackroyd to work on a comedy show he filmed on a local television station, and they became friends and co-workers for life.
Professionally moving into film, he produced and made the horror film “Cannibal Girls”, which starred Levy and Martin; the 1973 low-budget painting was purchased by B-picture legend Samuel Z. Arkoff for distribution. He also produced two early horror films directed by David Cronenberg: “Chills” (1975) and “Shaken” (1977).
In 1978, Reitman co-produced a film about the fraternity of failed people at a busy college in the ’60s, co-written with former SCTV lead writer Ramis and National Lampoon writers and editors Doug Kenny and Chris Miller. Directed by John Landis, the obscene comedy “House of Animals” eventually raised more than $ 140 million in the United States and raised Belushi to a movie star.
Murray, whose relaxed anti-authoritarian style was as characteristic as his former SNL co-star Belusha, broke into the box office with Reitman’s Meatballs ($ 43 million gross) and Stripes ($ 85 million). In 1983, Reitman began dusting off processing paranormal comedy that Ackroyd wrote for Belusha, who died a year ago.
Reitman recalled Rolling Stone in 2016: “It was a very big and, frankly, impossible film to make. Especially in 1980. [But] It was based on a really brilliant idea, namely: there are a lot of people who are very similar to firefighters, doing this important work, and that ghosts existed, and they could be caught.
A very original and amazing comedy attraction, “Ghostbusters” has become as ubiquitous as the scared ghost logo in the film, resulting in the long-running ABC animated series, Ray Parker Jr.’s theme song and countless additional supporting materials. products. “Ghostbusters 2” raised a relatively meager 112 million dollars in the United States
Plans for a third film have receded with Ramis ’death in 2014. Although director Paul Feig’s reboot in 2016 was a relative disappointment for BO, the franchise has become truly dynastic with Jason Reitman at the helm.
Reitman continued to work wonders in his comedies with Schwarzenegger, formerly best known as the screen incarnation of Conan and such science fiction action movies as “Terminator” and “Predator.” He continued to create audience-pleasing films such as Beethoven and Space Jam (1996), an animated / live film for Michael Jordan’s star hoop, but his directorial track record cooled in the late 1990s. and he increasingly focused on production.
Reitman’s most recent directorial works included his latest film, “Call of Duty” with Kevin Costner; “No Strings Attached”, romko “No Strings Attached” and “My super ex-girlfriend”.
In 2009, he co-produced the comedy-drama “Up in the Air” with George Clooney as a peripatetic specialist in reducing corporate staff. Directed and co-written by his son Jason, the film won an Oscar for Best Picture and won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Reitman was survived by Genevieve’s wife; his son Jason, director; and daughters Catherine, TV actress-writer-producer, and Carolina.